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tv   [untitled]    April 21, 2012 8:30am-9:00am PDT

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noticed the supervisor is here for item 7. if there was no objection with the commissioners, if we could move that up to the next item come and take the first item in that slot. i am asking if there is any objection. so we can move to item 7. >> at this time we will hear item 7, and we will return it back to item three. item seven, discussion and possible action regarding proposed ordinance amending the san francisco building code by amending section 120 8.4 to reduce the square footage requirement for efficiency dwelling units pursuant to section 1795 8.1 of the california health and safety code, and making environmental findings. >> can we have the first speaker on this item? supervisor wiener. supervisor wiener: thank you,
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commissioners, for hearing this item and giving me the opportunity to speak today. this legislation would amend the building code to bring the definition of an efficiency unit in line with what is allowed under the california health and safety codes. specifically defines and efficiency in the as being a minimum of 150 square feet of living area, exclusive of bathrooms, closets, and cooking area. the cac has expressed support for this advisory committee and express support for this legislation, with one requested amendment, which i have made, indicating the entire area, including the closet, bathroom would still need to be 220 square feet. that amendment i have are ready included i believe verbatim.
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all other code requirements, including ada requirements, health code requirements would still be in effect. in addition, the total number of documents would be limited to two people. -- total number of occupants would be limited to two people. many other cities have adopted an conformed codes to state minimum, including san jose, santa barbara, santa maria, and seattle and new york had similar size definitions. i do not need to tell you that we are in desperate need in san francisco for housing from all levels. well we do our very best to provide public subsidies to create affordable housing, i think we all know there are limits to what we can provide for to make sure we provide the funding. we talked a lot about affordability by design as a way
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to supplement the more affordable housing programs and giving developers and affordable housing nonprofits the flexibility to design housing in a way that it inherently is more affordable. this is one of those ways where we can give the flexibility. no developer will be required to build 150 foot living area efficiency, but they will have the option. i think it will be very useful in a number of different contexts. for example, student housing. i am carrying legislation not to introduce more student housing. existing housing stock. having this flexibility the be helpful in encouraging educational institutions to create that housing. we need more senior housing. not just for low income, though we do need a lot of that.
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there are also a lot of seniors who are going to have problems in do have problems with architectural barriers in their own homes. you may not be able to walk up 50 steps every day to get to your home. we wanted to give options for seniors to be able to remain in having these kinds of efficiency units that are by their nature, affordable, will be helpful with that. for transition a youth, we have been wanting more housing. for the former the homeless people. we have seen an emerging trend in terms of what is called collaborative or cooperative housing, of where you provide a relatively small individual living space for people and they share common areas. i have a big fan of this kind of housing. i think that whether it is for students, seniors, artists, anyone else, it provides a great
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option in terms of different kinds of affordable by design housing. this will help in that respect. with all of that said, i would be honored to have your support and happy to take any questions that anyone has. >> thank you, supervisor. i have a couple of questions. is this for new construction? only? >> no, i think it would be a general change in the building code. >> and the requirements around the inclusion area would flow to these as well? >> the commissioner met with me this morning and that was a discussion i was interested in having in terms of how this interacts with the inclusion housing ordinance in it -- and making sure that we have the right kind of ordinance. i am very interested in having that conversation. but this ordinance does not
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affect the inclusion housing ordinance. that would be a supplemental discussion. >> the current assumption of affordability is just based on size? >> yes. >> i had a similar question this morning when i spoke with supervisor wiener. first, i think it is long overdue and it is wonderful that you were putting this for. 100 years ago, we build but we now have as sro's, to deal with that market of folks who are single or have limited space needs that they need to live and work here. i do not think that we have adequate language in the code to allow for that market to be met. i think that this is really wonderful. the building department has a deal with the ordinance -- does not deal with the ordinance in that way, but we are charged with looking at the units after they are billed and checking
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off that they are comparable. whereas the inclusion very ordinance had specific requirements for offside units, how many square feet, you know, but for on-site units we do not have that. i am a bit worried about staff having to check off that box in saying that these are similar when we are not specifying what the relationship is between the market rate units. but i think that that is not something that will be in this legislation. it will be up to you both, who are working on the inclusion mary amendments to deal with that. i am hoping you will flag our concerns. but i think that this is long overdue and it is great if you are doing it. >> that is great feedback on the inclusion very issue and i hope that we have something in writing that we can show to other people and can get a discussion going on. >> any more comments for the supervisor?
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my final comments are that this is great. i think that what is so strong about this is that it has been tested in other cities, like new york in seattle, which is a great sign. supervisor walker? commissioner, taking you back a few. [laughter] >> one of the issues in some of the sri's -- sro's, i know that some of the efficiencies require kitchens and bathrooms, but the potential was also here that the common area oftentimes gets mentioned, but it does not get created or up capped. so, as we go through this new kind of test of efficiency units, i think that we really
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need to be careful about enforcing common area usage. when you name it as something that you actually keep it in. some claim to have community kitchens, there are no fixtures, no kitchen. i think it is lighter than air, when you have a dancer -- denser situation, you need to pay attention to open space, light and air, things that become more necessary when you have a denser population. >> i would like to make a comment. i have the same thoughts that commissioner walker had about common areas, and a host of other things. but i realized was that what is being proposed here is the minimum standards, right? i think i would like to say that i am supportive of this as a
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minimum standard, but i would like to leave it up to the developers, innovators, and builders, to create something that is appealing to the customer. sorry, to the people who will be using these buildings. if the developer decides yes, we should have a common area, they should market it. i do not know if we can add that into the building code, but somewhere, if necessary, we have to figure out how to include that. the other thought i had was -- 150 square feet is not very large. we have two bedrooms in our house and our master bedroom is 150 square feet. our second bedroom is smaller. that is 150 square feet. having two people living near might be a little tight, but
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there are ways to make these rooms look bigger. for instance, the ceiling can be raised higher than 8 feet. i notice that our window in that matter will is larger than what it needs to be. i think that these are things that developers have to take into account. although these are minimum requirements, we can do more than just this and i hope they realize that. one thing, specifically, for these official dwelling units, there is my concern about the square footage allocated to the kitchen area. as you can see in the code, it says the initial be provided with a kitchen sink and refrigeration facilities, each with a clear working space not less than 30 inches in front of them. i would like to clarify that that space is going to cut into.
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if it is, it will make the usable space even less. where will people start putting their furniture and their belongings? so, i would like to see if that can be addressed and maybe we can exclude that kitchen area out from the 150 square foot minimum. >> 220 includes the bathroom and kitchen. >i believe the living area does not include that. you cannot gm the kitchen in. that is how i understand it. >> that is correct. that is one of the amendments that was made on the last go around, to make it more user- friendly. >> one more question, what are
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the parking requirements in this kind of development? >> this does not change parking requirements. whenever the ratios are, they increased affordability by design. so, that would be left to the specific zoning for each project. >> commissioner? >> again, thank you for drafting this. i think that that amendment, expanding it to 220, was very helpful. i think that that is what the enforcement committee was concerned about. i had one other question. i know that when this was first posed, a lot of emphasis was on student housing or other alternative types of housing for, you know, a population that needs it right now. one of the other questions in the committee was the question of how you force that. because this was like for anyone and it was not going to be
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operated by educational institutions. and the developer could build it and they could have won development with students in other units for anyone. have you put in any thought to earmark the population? >> during the first meeting there had been a suggestion of limiting it to student housing. my understanding is that that would be illegal. we can do that. but in any event, putting aside what is legal and not legal, from a policy perspective, it makes sense for it to be brought. whether it is for students or helping the formerly homeless, offering the market rate at less-expensive efficiencies for people, it could be the senior who is not low income, but not
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wealthy, and looking for a lower cost of housing, or a young person who just moved here and is, you know, working at starbucks and trying to do art on the side. someone who does not need a lot of space and wants something less expensive. i think that giving options for various types of housing is where we need to go to increase affordability overall over the inflexibility. in addition to creating housing, without getting into the many different ways that we need to address the housing supply, this also helps with the housing supply problem. >> supervisor walker? >> commissioner. [laughter] is there any -- we do have this current issue of a power -- apartment houses, apartment rooms being transitioned into
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tourist rooms. this seems like it would be ripe for that. unless there is a way to prevent that. have you thought about that? or are you thinking about that in terms of the other legislation going through? >> the president is working on the legislation around that. as i understand it, that would be a fairly global approach. >> this would be one of those things that could be easily transition, so we should be careful about it. >> we already have laws on the book that are not effectively enforced. it is about enforcement and i am looking forward to a dialogue around the president's legislation, but this would not be exempt from those discussions. >> perfect, thank you. >> any more questions, commissioners? thank you, supervisor. i believe we have more speakers on item number seven. if you would like? public comments?
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>> is there anyone from the department? anyone from the department speaking on this item? seeing no one, public comment? >> good morning, commissioners. i am here wearing two hats this morning. i am here on behalf of my client and as a member of the housing coalition. you'll hear from patrick kennedy in just a moment. the housing action coalition is a strong supporter of a variety of housing types to meet the diverse needs of the people of san francisco. we are pleased to see this legislation moving forward. we think it will be a tremendous benefit to private sector developers and nonprofit developers. there is no doubt that there is a need for this type of housing. more than 40% of san francisco
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households consist of just a single person. there are countless others who would probably prefer to live alone but cannot afford to do that. last night as it happens i got a call from a friend who is moving back from portland to said they wanted to live in the city, but they could not afford $1,500 per month. that they were passed the point in their life that they could live with militant vegans who did not allow houseguests. no offense to vegans, but sometimes living with others does not go well. we would like to see these made available to the wide variety of people who would like to live alone but cannot afford it now. these types of units have been built in other cities. in seattle, for example, there is a 150 square foot minimum living area provision. there have been several efficiency unit projects built.
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many of them have been built near the university of washington. presumably they're very popular with students. in san francisco there are very few dedicated student housing units. these types of units seem like a very logical fit. while there is growing interest in these units on the private side, most of the ones built to date in san francisco have been built by non-profit housing developers. these are high-quality projects like the plaza apartments. there are also some under construction at over street. these are housing units for people with special needs, youth aging out of the foster care system, formerly homeless individuals. the change that this legislation makes will make every housing dollar go further. we think that that is a very positive change.
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i want to point out that these small units are often supplemented by a generous common areas. in affordable housing projects that is often a community room, a place where people can have services like the one that patrick kennedy is working on. there will be quiet study rooms and social space. thank you. >> i do not know how you will see this. what should i do? >> pass it around out here. >> ok. it is kind of heavy.
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that, by the way, is a typical unit -- >> state your name. >> my name is patrick kennedy. in a developer who has been building in berkeley for 20 years -- i am a developer who has been building in berkeley for 20 years. including projects in the south market area. 200 units will be leased by the california college of the arts. i am giving you a handout to stress and have information about the three points i would like to make. number one, the supervisors legislation simply brings the building code into agreement with our housing code regaing allowing units that have as small as 150 square feet of living area. the second point i would like to make is that these units are 220
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square feet. i included a diagram of the second page that shows you exactly what the change from a minimum living area of 220 square feet to 150 square feet means. as was pointed out earlier, if -- commissioner, i think that if careful attention is paid to design, it is very possible to create a comfortable, satisfactory, and economical units for one or two people. that unit is designed for one or two people. you can see that it has lots of storage, cooking facilities, seating areas. in other areas to fulfil the basic needs of housing. the last point i would like to make is that in a time of diminishing resources and the absence of redevelopment, i think the city needs to embrace
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the production of more affordable housing. what i have built in berkeley, i was the largest developer there for 10 years. 20% of the units all went into my projects and were set aside for very low-income residents. in the space of seven years, my firm became the largest landlord of section h holders in the city, even larger than the city of berkeley housing authority. bat was all done through private funds, with no subsidies from the city. because the units were inside the projects that we did, by allowing this modification, you can insure that these low market rate units stay on the premise where these projects are built, a goal that the city has been trying to promote for longtime.
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i might add that if these stem the tax code, if these projects generated an enormous amount of revenue for the city, it would provide below market rate housing. it would benefit the large market in san francisco. >> as been pointed out, 42% of san francisco individuals are one-person households. this year alone we will see at least 1000 new employees coming into the technology industry on self market. the overwhelming majority of those people are single. if we do not make a concerted effort to provide a landing at of housing for those people, the bill cannibalize existing single-family homes elsewhere. a few who will engineers can
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outbid anyone for any house in the city. another benefit of building high-density units like this is that they can go to places like the mid market area, where there is great transit, where there is a great need for economic development and these individuals will be quite happy as they will be close to work. allowing for smaller units like this will help the city bands in number of its goals in many ways without any subsidies from the city. all by harnessing the energy of the private sector. one last thing i wanted to make. including an article about the s are units in the city -- sro units in the city, of varying quality. if the city is ever going to make a dent in refurbishing that
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stock, they need to embrace refurbishing an innovative idea like this amendment, because only then will we start to see units replace the substandard and in many " -- many cases squalid units that many of our residents live in now. >> any questions? thank you for bringing in the module. it really kicked the tire visual. looking at the designs in your submitted to us here, there is an open space. >> which? >> on this page. i wanted to underscore the demolition is not as much as it
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might think. it all does stay the same. an important part of the buildings, typically are buildings have no parking. people usually use bicycles, transit, without driving. as a result the ground floor is largely given over to uses that enhance the experience of people upstairs. there will be a kitchen-like area. we hope that other areas will provide a stimulus for the people living upstairs. these still have to abide by the open space requirements that the city has. >> as a curiosity, is that open
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space on the roof? >> typically and most sites you have to build a courtyard someplace. we will build a large roof deck. at night they have a 2000 square foot courtyard. >> thank you for the presentation here today. >> is there any further public comment? seeing no one, is there a motion to vote on the proposed ordinance? >> so moved. >> second. >> there is a first and second on the motion. all in favor? >> aye. >> the motion carried unanimously. thank you.
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we will return to item number three, discussion and possible action by the commission to adopt proposed findings regarding 550 jersey street. if the department could come forward and speak, if you have any comments on these findings? >> the only update that i have on this, as we did not spend a lot of time and that last month, the update for the cfc for final completion has been issued to the property or -- property owner. they were all reviewed and inspected by staff. we can answer any questions.

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